100 miles in July, the final countdown

Last Monday was a rest day (after the 9 miles the day before), and then if anyone can think back that long, the Tuesday was an absolute scorcher. Being at work all day in the heat was not fun (the classrooms get way above 30C) and I was not particularly looking forward to a run. Any other week I would put it back a day, but I had a race on the Thursday and wanted a rest the day before, so I had to suck it up.

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I’d been out for lunch as I knew Starbucks had air conditioning- I needed to cool down in the middle of the day to help me get through the afternoon.

Thankfully a few of my OH buddies were just as crazy as me, and there were four of us that ended up going out. We chose to run along the old railway line as it is mainly shaded, and we could do an out and back route (so keep it to a short 3 miles). I felt totally boiling the whole time, with heavy legs. We stopped fairly frequently to catch our breath, and before turning back we sheltered in an underpass for a little bit to cool down. I didn’t actually look at my Garmin at all, but I was guessing we were running around 11 minute miles as I didn’t expect much in the heat. Imagine my surprise when I got home and looked on Strava- the mile splits were 9.24, 9.03, 8.58, and 8.31 for the 0.3 at the end. Royal flush negative split here we come! No wonder it felt hard! I even managed a segment PR!

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Andy had put a nuun tab in some water, added ice and left it in the fridge for me, so I had it in the garden in an attempt to cool down.

Wednesday was a rest day, and I was very glad of that as it was another hot one (not quite as bad as Tuesday, but once was enough for me!).

Then on Thursday I was off to Panshanger park for the final 5 mile midsummer race (which I shall do in a separate post), and so I had Friday as a rest day (and the first of the holidays, hooray!).

I went to sleep with wet hair on Thursday as I was so tired, and I woke up with a really stiff neck (and it is still bothering me a week later). Running is fine, but I have to turn my whole body around to look when crossing roads as my neck won’t turn.

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On Saturday I was marshalling at Panshanger parkrun (alas my purple t-shirt didn’t arrive in time) so I got there early for a run before it started- it was strange being in the car park at 7.45am with no cars at all- normally it is full of volunteer cars and runners milling about. I ran a bit of the parkrun route, and a bit of the race route, and so had run 4 miles before I got back to the car park, picked up my vest and found out where I would be stationed.

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This is the start of the route (I walked a bit as my Garmin was taking ages to pick up the signal and every step counts in the 100 mile challenge!)- it is narrow so can be a bit congested, but I love running through the woods in the shade. I heard lots of birds, and saw these mushrooms that looked like coconuts.

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No flash, they were just a bright white colour.

Along the top of the park there were lovely wildflowers growing at the edge of the field.

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I then ran along a field towards the old oak (part of the 5 mile race route)- I kept passing the same dog walker but no-one else was around. I felt so lucky to be able to run somewhere so pretty.

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It struck me how brown the grass is looking now- it only takes a couple of weeks of hot weather and suddenly everywhere looks so bare. Although it will only take a few rain showers for the green to come back.

I was told I was marshalling near the end, so I collected my water from my car and set off, but when I got there the big gate was still locked (with a combination lock). I waited a bit, but it was nearly five to nine, and I thought they would be starting their briefing soon. Luckily each marshal is given a laminated lanyard with all the RD numbers, so I rang him and he told me the code over the phone. Just as I was fiddling with the padlock, the lady who was doing the pre-event set up turned up. I explained I had just phoned, so she knew what I was doing. I did feel a bit bad, but I didn’t want to leave phoning any later and we have some very speedy runners.

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Ready to cheer! (Note the purple ribbon for the lanyard- will match the purple t-shirt perfectly).

I had great fun (as usual) cheering on all the runners- I was just past the 4km mark so I could tell them all “less than a kilometre to go”, plus they were coming up to a lovely bit of shade, so I could vary my cheers a bit. My dad and brother ran past me and I managed to get a photo of them this time (at Ellenbrook last week I was too slow!).

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There’s my dad in the red top (I did get a few of them both). They shouted that they would wait for me at the end, so once the tail runner came through I ran up through a different field (I thought it would be a bit off putting to run along the same path and overtake the tail runner) and we had a catch up in the car park. 5 miles done for the morning too!

For the rest of Saturday we finished the wallpaper stripping (we had a little bit left in my office, behind the heated towel rail and around the window) and then did some vigorous pruning in the garden.

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On Sunday we were meeting friends for breakfast, and as I didn’t want to get up stupidly early, I postponed my run until the Monday morning (the luxury of the holidays).

For the 100 mile challenge, I worked it out roughly as 4 runs a week, 3 being 5 miles in length, and one being 10 miles, which seemed manageable, and as July is longer than 28 days, I could have some shorter runs in there too. So I thought I would do 10 miles, but then when I was thinking about routes, I realised that I had signed up to a Strava half marathon challenge (you can do these each month, all you do is click on the challenge- race a 10K/ see how far you can run in a month…- and once completed you get a badge on your profile). Now of course I know that I could have signed up and not done it- nothing bad will happen I am sure. But once I have got the idea in my mind, it’s hard to let it go.  I think my original thinking was that we are doing the Disneyland Paris half in September, and I won’t have a great deal of opportunities to run on holiday, so if I did a long run in July, perhaps working back up to that distance in September won’t be so hard.

So I mapped out a longer route and ran 13.1 miles. I took my time as it was warm, but I had a lovely time listening to podcasts. I ran through the fields near our old house, and that was good to go back to where I used to run.

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This was about 11 miles in I think- still smiling! That distance took me up to 97 miles for the month, and still with 6 days to go!

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Then I enjoyed my French toast in the garden before heading into work. Afterwards I went to the shopping centre in Watford as I had a voucher to spend there. Annoyingly the pain in my neck had moved to the back of my shoulder blade, so carrying a blind (for my office) back to my car was not the most comfortable thing ever.

On Tuesday I was in work again, and didn’t really think the day through- I was not sure how long I would be there, and didn’t take anything in for lunch with me. My classroom is out of bounds for the next week due to some electrical work, so at around 2.30 I packed up my car with things I can do at home, and stopped off at the shops. I realised it was getting late in the day, and I had a run with the club later, so I went into Starbucks. None  of the sandwiches appealed (there was only one veggie one and it sounded too spicy to have before a run) so I went for the fruit toast and a black iced tea (although it was not that warm and immediately wished I had bought a hot tea).

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After getting some bits in the supermarket, and browsing the furniture, it was time to head home and change for our club run. Once a month we meet at a different place, and I had basically forgotten that it takes longer for me to get there now we have moved, so I ended up having to run very fast from where I had parked to where we meet (and at that point I remembered why I normally have a rest day after a long run). We ended up running 6 miles, so at the end myself and another one of my club mates had completed our 100 miles (two of them finished it several days before us) so we took some celebratory photos. Now we did walk back to the car as a cool down, and we stretched for a bit as we waited for everyone to come back, and I was fine in the car, but as I got out of the car my lower back was really sore. I did (half) joke to Andy that perhaps I had a worm, as the pain and stiffness was moving around from my neck, to my shoulders and then to my back. At least Wednesday was a rest day.

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And this was my photo to celebrate my 100 miles in July! Hooray!

I’ve really enjoyed the challenge. I have run some 100+ mile months before (104 in February 2015, and 132 in March 2015) when I was training for the Brighton marathon, but more typically I do maybe 70-80 miles. My furthest month this year was 87 miles in February (half marathon training). I did the Poppy challenge last October for the virtual runner website, and that was similar as you just tried to do as many miles as possible. I much prefer this sort of challenge to a streak, as I know I am no good without rest days. Plus those sorts of challenges are a bit more “all of nothing”, as if you miss one day you have mucked it up, whereas with a mileage challenge at least if you are short on one day, you can make it up another day. It has also been good as usually if I was marshalling or tail running at parkrun, that is all I would do, but because of this I have been getting there early to do a run beforehand, so that is something I could carry on with in the autumn.

I’ve emailed my screenshot off, so I just have to wait for the medal now. And if I wasn’t going on holiday I would be very tempted to sign up for the August 100 mile challenge as the medal is Olympic themed and pretty awesome.

What sort of challenges do you like to do? Have you ever tried to run every day for a certain length of time?

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2 thoughts on “100 miles in July, the final countdown

  1. Woo hoo! 100 miles!

    Also, you have the same garden table and chairs as us, as well as the same garden pruning issues!

    We are also overrun by revolting slugs, which I take great delight in stamping upon…

  2. Urgh! I don’t think I could stand on a slug on purpose- I imagine they feel so squidgy and horrible!
    Snap to the chairs! 🙂

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